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Wise Words to Pray

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Wise Words to Pray

Psalm 139:1-24

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - Feb. 5, 2012

*Do you want a better prayer life? -- I’m sure all of us would say, “Yes!”

*Well this Psalm can help us, because it was written by a man after God’s own heart. David had a wonderful prayer life, and he shows us some of the best things we can say to the Lord: Wise words to pray.

1. First we should tell the Lord, “You completely comprehend me.”

*This is what David was saying to the Lord in vs. 1-6: “You completely comprehend me.” Of course, God is omniscient. He knows everything about everything.

*Just consider the stars. Richard Wimer tells us that if you hold your thumb at arm’s length toward the sky, your thumb nail is covering up more than 250,000 galaxies in space! And every one of those galaxies holds 100 to 200 billion stars! (1)

*But Isaiah 40:26 in the New Living Translation says: “Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out one after another, calling each by its name. And he counts them to see that none are lost or have strayed away.”

*I forget people’s names every other day, but God knows all of the stars by name! -- He knows everything about everything.

*But David brings the Lord’s knowledge home in vs. 1-6. It’s one thing to say that God knows everything. But we take our focus to a new dimension when we say, “Lord, You know everything about ME.”

*In vs. 1&2, Lord, You know my travels and my thoughts:

1. O LORD, You have searched me and known me.

2. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off.

*In vs. 3&4, Lord, You know my ways and my words:

3. You comprehend my path (The word picture here for “comprehend” is like separating wheat from chaff.) and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways.

4. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.

*Lord, You know my travels, my thoughts, my ways and my words. Then in vs. 5&6, You know me better than I know myself!

5. You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me.

6. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it.

*One of the best things we can say to God is, “Lord, You comprehend me completely.”

2. But also tell Him this: “Lord, You are always near to guide and to guard me.”

*This is what David told the Lord in vs. 7-12: “Lord, You are always near to guide and to guard me. Nothing can take me away from You!”

*James Merritt explained it something like this:

[1] In vs. 7&8, death cannot take you away from the presence of God. So David asked:

7. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?

8. If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.

[2] Death cannot take you away from the presence of God. -- In vs. 9&10, neither can distance.

9. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

10. Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.

*In other words, -“No matter where I go, Your hand is there to guide me, Lord. And your strong right hand is there to guard me.”

[3] Distance cannot take you away from the presence of God. -- And in vs. 11&12, neither can darkness.

11. If I say, "Surely the darkness shall fall on me,'' Even the night shall be light about me;

12. Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

*If you turn out the lights, God can see you as if it were twelve o'clock noon.

-He doesn't need night vision goggles to see in the dark.

-He doesn't need sunglasses to see in the light.

*Nothing can hide you or take you from the presence of God, so we can tell Him: “Lord, You are always near to guide and to guard me.” (2)

*Herman Gockel told of a lady, who was very nervously waiting to go into surgery. A nurse standing nearby noticed her look of concern and gently asked her if she was a Christian.

*The sick lady replied, “Why, yes. Why do you ask?”

*The nurse explained, “Well, I noticed how worried you look, but you know you have nothing to fear. Just remember what it says in the Psalm, ‘If I go up to the heavens, you are there. If I make my bed in the depths, you are there.’

-If you wake up here in this hospital, the Lord will be with you. -- And if you should open your eyes in heaven, you will be with the Lord.

-But in either case you and the Lord will be together.” (3)

*What a great truth! -- And it’s one of the great things we should tell the Lord.

-One of the best things we can say to God is, “Lord, You are always near to guide and to guard me.”

3. But also tell Him this: “Lord, You formed me and fashioned my days.”

[1] First in vs. 13, “Lord, You formed me.” -- Or as David said: “You have formed my inward parts; You have covered me in my mother's womb.”

*Lord, YOU formed me. James Merritt explained that David knew we are a physical miracle created by the power of God. . . David was saying, “Lord, I know that I am not here because of Mother Nature, fate, or chance.” David knew that your life is not an accident. Your life is a wonderful gift from God!

[2] Next in vs. 14, Lord, You formed me in a fantastic way. Or as David said, “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.”

*We are “fearfully made.” -- That word means we should stand in awe at the complexity of our creation. We are “wonderfully made.” -- That word means we are a marvelous creation of God.

*The human body contains over thirty trillion cells. The genetic information contained in each cell of our body is enough to fill a library with four thousand books. So if you were going to catalogue all of the genetic information in your body, it would take a library big enough to hold 30 trillion times four thousand books. (4)

*Your body is such an incredibly precise machine that if it is working normally, you can do the following:

-Feel on your fingertips or face a pressure that depresses your skin only 4 one hundred thousandths of an inch.

-See either a small candle flame from 30 miles away at night, or 300,000 different colors in the light.

-Smell one drop of perfume spread through a three-room apartment.

-Taste 4 hundredths of an ounce of table salt dissolved in 530 quarts of water.

-Feel the weight of a bee's wing falling on your cheek from less than half an inch away.

-Notice a sound's origin based on a 3 one hundred thousandths of a second difference in its arrival from one ear to the other. (5)

*Your body is a physical miracle that can only be explained by the limitless power of God. -- “Lord, You formed me!”

[3] Then, in vs. 16, You fashioned my days: “Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.”

*That word “fashioned” is a picture of squeezing something into shape, like a potter at his wheel. And God is fashioning the days of our lives.

*We have no idea what tomorrow brings, but the Lord certainly does. God sees around corners and over the hills, so in His care we don’t have to worry.

-One of the best things we can say to God is, “Lord, You formed me and fashioned my days.”

4. But also tell Him this: “Lord, I treasure your thinking of me.”

*David said this in vs. 17-18:

17. How precious (how prized and valuable) also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!

18. If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You.

*Charles Spurgeon explained that David is not alarmed at the fact that God knows all about him. On the contrary, he is comforted, and even feels himself to be enriched, as with a box of precious jewels. That God should think upon him is the believer's treasure and pleasure. (6)

*“God, You have the whole universe set before you. There are almost 7 billion people on this planet right now. But You haven’t forgotten me. You are thinking about me!”

*James Moore tells about a little girl in his church. Her name is Pascale. When she was five years old, Pascale was watching television with her mom and dad. Suddenly, a news flash showed President Bush walking to a meeting. The President was surrounded by a group of men in dark suits.

*Pascale asked her parents: "Who are those men with the President? Why are they with him?"

*Her parents answered: "They are members of the secret service. They go with the President everywhere he goes. They travel with him always. They protect him and take care of him and keep him safe at all times."

*Pascale replied, "That's what Jesus does for me!" (7)

*That’s the wonderful truth for every believer. And that’s the spirit David had when he said, “Lord, I treasure your thinking of me.”

-It’s one of the best things we can say to God.

5. But also tell Him this: “Lord, Your enemies are my enemies.”

*In vs. 19-22:

19. Oh, that You would slay the wicked, O God! Depart from me, therefore, you bloodthirsty men.

20. For they speak against You wickedly; Your enemies take Your name in vain.

21. Do I not hate them, O Lord, who hate You? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?

22. I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies.

*Aren’t we supposed to love our enemies? -- Yes, of course, but we aren’t supposed to love their rebellion against God.

-We must not approve, when God disapproves.

-We must hate what God hates.

*The New Testament shows us the right balance between Godly love and hate. In Acts 26:27-29, Paul witnessed to King Agrippa, and said:

27. "King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.''

28. Then Agrippa said to Paul, "You almost persuade me to become a Christian.''

29. And Paul said, "I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains.''

*Then, in Rom 5:9-10, Paul reminds us that we all were once enemies of God. Speaking to Christians there, Paul said:

9. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

10. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

*Next, in Rom 12:19-21, Paul tells us how to treat our enemies:

19. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,'' says the Lord.

20. "Therefore if your enemy hungers, feed him; if he thirsts, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.''

21. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

*But James 4:1-4 warns us against friendship with the world:

1. Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?

2. You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.

3. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.

4. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

*We surely do not want to be enemies of God! So tell the Lord, “Your enemies are my enemies.” It’s one of the best things we can say to God.

6. But also tell Him this: “Lord, keep searching and steering me.

*In vs. 23-24, David winds up just where he started.

-Vs. 1 said, “O LORD, You have searched me and known me.”

-And vs. 23 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart;

*David is saying, “God, keep doing what you have been doing in my life.”

*But then David goes on. He wants to go farther with the Lord. He wants to go deeper. So in vs. 23&24 he says:

23. Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me (examine me, investigate me, test me, prove me), and know my anxious thoughts;

24. And see if there is any wicked way in me . . .

*In other words, “Lord, keep searching ever deeper in my soul.” But also in vs. 24, keep steering me: “Lead me in the way everlasting.”

*“Lead me! Guide me! -- God, I will never know the right way to go, unless you lead me.

-“Lead me in the way everlasting.” -- That’s the all the way to the place I could never see on my own.

-Lead me all the way to Heaven. Lead me to life everlasting.

*Michael Walther heard a famous test pilot speaking on “Focus on the Family.” This pilot was flying a fighter jet in bad weather and about to make his instrument approach to an airport. The air traffic controller called and asked how much fuel he had. -- “Plenty,” he said.

*“Well,” the controller said, “We’ve got a little problem. There’s a young pilot who is not instrument rated. He’s lost in the clouds, and we were wondering if you could intercept him and lead him back to the airport.”

*“Sure,” the pilot responded. He found the lost plane and pulled up beside it. He called on the radio and told the pilot to look out to his left. When the pilot of this small plane saw the powerful jet, he burst into tears of relief. As far as he was concerned his life was about over. He would soon run out of fuel and crash.

*“Don’t worry,” the test pilot said. “Everything’s going to be OK. I’m going to pull in front of you several hundred yards. Do everything I do. When I turn, I’ll turn gently. All you have to do is do exactly what I do.”

*So carefully the leader and the follower turned toward the airport and slowly descended. When they finally broke through the clouds at 500 feet, the frightened pilot saw the most beautiful sight. There in front of him was the runway, and he was perfectly set up to land. (8)

*He never would have made it back without the right guide. And we will never make it to Heaven without Jesus. He shows us the way. He is the way.

*Jesus took our sins on the cross when He died for us. And now the Risen Savior will lead you in the way everlasting, if you will trust in Him. He will also lead you day by day.

*Make David’s prayer in Psalm 139, your prayer tonight. May God search our hearts tonight, convict us of our sins, and especially lead us in the way everlasting.

1. KERUX ILLUSTRATION COLLECTION - ID Number: 34700 - SOURCE: Wit And Wisdom at by Richard G. Wimer - TITLE: Billions And Billions - DATE: 53107 (Source: Popular Science TV Program)

2. Adapted from sermon “Our God Is an Awesome God” by James Merritt - Psalm 139:1-24

3. SermonCentral sermon “I Will Be With You” by Karl Eckhoff - Joshua 1:1-9 - 04172003

4. Herbert J. Myles, The Evangelical Dilemma, pp. 136-137. (Adapted from sermon “Our God Is an Awesome God” by James Merritt - Psalm 139:1-24)

5. Cited by Reader's Digest. (Adapted from sermon “Our God Is an Awesome God” by James Merritt - Psalm 139:1-24)

6. “The Treasury of David” by Charles Hadden Spurgeon - Psalm 139:17

7. sermon “That's What Jesus Does for Me” by James Moore - Psalm 139:1-24

8. “Following Jesus,” (Source: sermon “Guidance for a Time of Chaos” by King Duncan - John 16:12-15)

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